I have moved thirteen times in my life, and I am presently packing for fourteenth. I pack effectively and efficiently, having already sold most of my unnecessary furniture and boxed anything I don’t need to frequently use – yet I’m not moving for 3 weeks. Tomorrow I am selling my car that I have loved since I could drive by myself in 2009. I don’t like being unprepared – something that I have learned is equally a flaw as it is an advantage.
While I am not generally described by people who know me as ‘materialistic’ I can be sentimental. Things I can toss aside, but memories I struggle with. In recent years through some heart wrenching conversations I discovered I am capable of repressing some memories. Something I was unprepared for, and today I am reminded of. While moving from house number eleven to number twelve, I boxed things in a desperate rush. Only now as I pack up house number thirteen in my own time I am finding letters, photos and memories I had buried over the years in my efforts to be pragmatic and practical.
Unfortunately, what I did not know when I made letters I kept for whatever reason fit into a box without opening them many months ago was that the box of memories was just a short term solution. They can’t stay in a corner of a wardrobe forever. Things that I had kept to remember a wonderful day now remind me of dissolutions of relationships that happened shortly afterwards. Moving a 20 minute drive away is one thing, but I am moving 926 km away. Any unnecessary baggage needs to be dealt with and dumped.
Reading these letters I kept was emotionally one thing, but I find myself now, almost a week later still not having thrown out a single one. In fact, I re-taped the box and stacked it with my other packed ones trying to trick myself into thinking I had dealt with it all. Now, after my LDR partner has flown back home and we’re apart for 3 weeks again I immediately find myself drawn back to the box. Sitting in its corner, I can’t stop thinking about its contents.
I have allowed myself to become haunted from what I was not willing to let go of. I have letters from former close friends, friends who have passed away, past lovers, symbols of broken promises and mementos from times I never wanted to forget but today I can’t stand to remember.
Suppression is not a solution, it is merely a bandage over an open wound. It is impossible to let go of anything that you try to suppress, for one day the memory will come back. Before you can get rid of haunting memories, you must come to terms with those memories and understand their origins.
For me, I am facing who I was at 16 – wide eyed and bushy tailed. I am remembering the moments I planned my future and today I know that plan is evidently altered. Then, I see myself at 18 when I really knew who I was. Today I look back and wonder, am I doing her proud? It hasn’t quite been 4 years, but I feel I’ve lived a lifetime’s worth of experiences in that time. I need to sort through the box of memories I had unintentionally been hiding and piling up, but first I must come to terms with my own changes.
Right now, I am trembling at the keyboard listening to Michel Bublé sing some confidence into my second-guessing soul. I close my eyes and count to ten. Shivers are sent down my spine and I can feel the water pooling behind my eyes. I am terrified, I won’t lie. Finding these memories of who I used to be leaves me afraid and wanting a big hug from my partner, but instead I will settle with a warm cup of tea. As a few tears fall down my cheeks I know it’s time to deal with these wounds.
The question is, where do I begin?